AI will drive the future of access control

Issue 5 2022 Access Control & Identity Management

In the TV series Knight Rider, KITT listened to people and found a fast route, while Airwolf detected and identified all types of aircraft. These are the imaginary machines familiar to those who grew up in the late eighties. At the time, people used to think of KITT and Airwolf as products of the imagination that only existed in fiction. However, around 30 years later, voice recognition-based navigation systems and image-based object recognition products are easily found all around us. Whether we realise it or not, over the past 30 years, the world has been transforming imagination into reality.

Artificial intelligence is driving these changes. AI-based voice recognition and image recognition enable machines to understand and recognise things better than humans are able to.

Artificial intelligence, which first appeared in the 1950s, was briefly revived in the 1980s, then again fell off the radar. In the late 2000s, AI re-emerged and became a driver of the IT industry. Artificial intelligence requires large-scale data for training, but the relevant data was not available until the 2000s. By the late 2000s, things began to change with the spread of the Internet, smartphones, and then cloud-based services.

The Internet and smartphones enabled data collection from a myriad sources to the cloud, and the advent of the Internet of Things accelerated data collection. With this massive data collection, artificial intelligence has done what we could only dream about in the past. The term the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” describes the emergence of, and the transformation led by, an industrial platform consisting of IoT (smartphones), cloud computing, data and AI.

The dilemma of access control

Now, let’s look at today’s access control industry. Security is supposed to be inconvenient and inefficient. This is something everybody agrees on. Greater security comes with a more substantial number of procedures, which increases inconvenience and inefficiency to the individuals who are handling the tasks. The situation is the same in the access control system industry. Conventionally, security enhancement approaches require a thousand people to follow a procedure to prevent a one-in-a-thousand problem. Balancing security with efficiency is an irreconcilable dilemma for all security managers.

And so, what kind of system do these security managers envision? Perhaps a system that offers enhanced security with easy operation and usability. We have discovered that AI can make these dreams of security managers a reality.

Access control with increased convenience, efficiency, and safety

We could effectively save time and money by monitoring a specific area with a higher probability of errors occurring instead of monitoring the whole procedure where the problem occurs one-in-a-thousand times. Also, if we could predict possible problems by detecting signs of symptoms, then we can enhance security without sacrificing convenience and efficiency.

Such intelligence-driven operations are possible through AI training in large-scale data sets. Suppose we can collect user activity data and train AI with individual-specific behaviours and patterns; in that case, we can detect unusual or undesired behaviours and patterns that are highly likely to cause problems. In addition, if a problem occurs, AI can learn behaviours and patterns to detect the action beforehand and prevent the problem from occurring the next time. This is possible only when AI is deployed and trained with highly accurate access, behaviour, and location data in the cloud, collected continuously through the access control systems.

One thing that needs to be clarified here is whether accurate access and behaviour data can be obtained and how. Currently, most access control systems determine physical access through authentication/tagging as evidence of presence or attendance. However, some people may decide not to enter after authentication, or others may circumvent authentication by following in someone who has tagged in. This means it is impossible to obtain accurate access and movement data from existing access control systems.

However, real-time location systems (RTLS) can be a game-changer by enabling accurate access and movement information. It allows you to identify cases where authentication/tagging is abused (leaving after the first tag or following others without authentication). RTLS-enabled access control allows us to collect data with the accuracy and quality sufficient for training AI.

Recently, smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple have been competing to make the best use of UWB, one of the typical RTLS technologies. If UWB is integrated with mobile credentials in smart devices, it can be easily deployed to access control systems. In the coming years, various RTLS-enabled access control systems with precise location intelligence will be available on the market.

Ultra-wideband (UWB or digital pulse wireless) is a wireless technology for transmitting enormous amounts of digital data over a wide spectrum of frequency bands, with very low power, for a short distance. It can carry signals through doors and other obstacles that tend to reflect signals at more limited bandwidths and a higher power. Find out more from TechTarget via*uwb. – Ed.

In the future, we will realise what many security managers have dreamed about: access control systems that predict potential problems based on accurate in and out data, preventing problem occurrences.

In the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

In 2018, I visited the head office in San Francisco as part of the Korea Information and Communication Agency’s overseas training programme. What caught my eye was a banner for’s Einstein service, covering the entire building. Einstein is an AI-powered service that leverages the big data of to recommend customers with a high possibility of conversion and forecast future sales volume to take pre-emptive measures. I was sceptical about the feasibility of the technology. But it was simply enormous; AI-trained big data outperforms humans, and cloud services powered by these AI engines deliver new value that on-premises solutions cannot provide.

Simply put, the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a change in creating exchangeable value. That is a change in the way we make money. I think I saw how the way to make exchangeable value was changing in San Francisco in 2018, which helped me understand why such changes are collectively called “the 4th”. This also explains why developers in Suprema, including myself, are dedicated to AI to improve the convenience and efficiency of cloud-based access control offerings.


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